The 23 Best Restaurants In Asheville

The best restaurants in Asheville, from hidden gems to award-winning spots

This carefully curated list of restaurants in Asheville represents the culinary spots that truly define Asheville. You’ll find that it covers the entire city, various cuisines and a range of budgets.

A few of the restaurants on the list are the darlings of Asheville. These include award-winning spots like Chai Pani and Cúrate that put Asheville on the culinary map. You’ll also find a few Asheville institutions like Vinnie’s and Nine Mile.

Other restaurants highlighted are new to the scene and making waves, like Neng Jr.’s. And we couldn’t leave off the breakfast spots and bakeries that alone are worth a visit to Asheville.

Together, the restaurants on this list should satisfy every dining, from casual burger spot to fine dining.

Whatever the meal, the reason or the occasion, this best restaurants in Asheville list will guide you to an absolutely memorable and delicious experience.

‘Mind-blowing’ Indian food in a casual setting

Chai Pani is a locally loved restaurant known for their vibrant Indian street food and welcoming atmosphere. They opened in 2012 and garnered national attention when they won the James Beard Award for Best Overall Restaurant in 2022.

Chai Pani is such a great restaurant all around– the food is flavorful, the vibe is fun and the casual atmosphere keeps it approachable despite its success.

You can typically expect a wait at Chai Pani, but if you have the time it’s definitely worth it. Chai Pani recommends dining on a Wednesday for the shortest wait possible.

Have you heard the news that Chai Pani relocated to South Slope in May 2024? For details on this and other industry changes, check out our guide to Asheville restaurant openings & closings.

Hidden gem restaurant in the River Arts District

You’ll find The Bull and Beggar tucked away in the artistic River Arts District. It’s a wonderful French-inspired restaurant with an unassuming exterior and a captivatingly charming interior.

Indulge in crowd favorites like their succulent oysters and bread with charred onion butter, or savor the classic perfection of their steak frites. For an unforgettable dining experience, don’t miss the 34oz bone-in ribeye, dry-aged for 30 days and served with butter, roast potatoes, and a refreshing salad.

The interior of The Bull and Beggar features lofty ceilings, two levels of intimate seating, and an elegant yet rustic atmosphere. You can also enjoy the charming patio area when it’s nice out. It’s covered during the winter months.

Chill wine bar and eatery with an outdoor patio and epic grilled cheese

Leo’s House of Thirst is a cozy wine bar in West Asheville that is low-key yet also date night worthy. They have a great wine selection and a really great grilled cheese with 3 kinds of cheese on french bread.

The inside is charming and perfectly decorated. It’s the type of place you want to move into. Outside you’ll find a heated patio with picnic tables and fire pits.

You can order wine by the glass or the bottle at Leo’s. They also have beer, cider, various spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.

Appalachian soul food in downtown Asheville

It was an easy decision to include Benne on Eagle on our list of the best restaurants in Asheville. What’s not to love about the cool space with brick walls, the East Fork dinnerware, the flavorful food and the impeccable service.

Their seasonal dinner menu is offered Tuesday through Saturday. You’ll typically find a trout dish on the menu (get it!), as well as steak and a smothered pork chop.

They also offer a daily brunch in downtown Asheville with everything from shrimp & grits to a matcha oatmeal bowl and their famous chicken & waffles.

Benne on Eagle is located at the Foundry Hotel, which is a great option if you are looking for a luxury hotel in Asheville.

OWL Bakery

Must visit bakery with exceptional pastries and coffee

We typically mention OWL in the same sentence as ‘if you only have time to visit one place in Asheville…‘ But it’s true– OWL is an absolutely exceptional, must visit eatery.

Their bread and butter is, well, bread. It’s flakey and buttery and elevated in the most perfect way. We love their almond rose croissant, morning bun, coffee walnut strudel and even their grain-free nut bread. Their coffee is delicious and the daily savory danish are also can’t-miss.

OWL’s original shop is in West Asheville and they opened a second location in North Asheville in 2022.

Charming restaurant in West Asheville with outdoor seating

If a modest cinder block building with booths, an outdoor patio with bistro lights and delicious steak sounds like your kind of place, you’ll love The Admiral.

The menu changes seasonally but typically includes a few house pastas, sharing plates like like beef tartare and a cheese board, and a few mains. We recommend going hungry!

The food, drinks and service are all noteworthy at The Admiral. It’s an especially great place for a date night.

Asheville’s crown jewel restaurant

Cúrate, a highly rated Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Asheville, is a must-visit for any foodie. It’s simply perfect.

The interior is stunning and the service is always delightful. Their menu includes Spanish tapas, excellent wine options and decadent desserts. 

Cúrate won a James Beard Award in 2022 alongside Chai Pani, cementing Asheville’s reputation as a culinary destination. Though it’s not a new restaurant, it’s a definite must-visit whether you are local or just visiting for the weekend.

Japanese soul food with a southern BBQ twist

Ukiah is an excellent spot for Japanese food in downtown Asheville. They have a fun menu with everything from duck hot pot to smoked pastrami short rib. You’ll even find a smoked Carolina pork shoulder with fire roasted kimchi on the menu!

It’s a great place for a group, especially if you are looking to try several different dishes. There’s also a Sake Flight on the menu, as well as a whisky flight featuring a few Japanese varities.

Don’t miss their Sunday brunch complete with breakfast ramen or a Wagyu ribeye with eggs (and shiso chimichurri!)

Italian restaurant with a family feel and hearty food

Vinnie’s is the perfect place if you love a good red sauce and want to feel like you are a part of the family. It’s welcoming and casual with a great menu full of delicious Italian food.

We especially love their chicken parmigiana, pasta al funghi and spaghetti with their signature Sunday Gravy. Their chicken marsala and twice-baked meat lasagna are also crowd favorites.

Vinnie’s has a second location in South Asheville.

Casual fish fry eatery in South Slope

Good Hot Fish is one of Asheville’s newest restaurants, but that didn’t stop it from immediately making the cut for this list. It’s a one-of-a-kind spot, with an excellent chef, a cool location and the perfect take on Southern fish camp fare.

The menu includes their signature good hot fish sandwich with NC catfish topped with a buttermilk tartar sauce and a trout bologna and cheese. You’ll also find classic fish sticks on the menu and a daily fish plate.

It’s counter-service and in the heart of the brewery district. So plan to follow up your Good Hot Fish meal with a visit to a few of South Slope’s best breweries.

Fairy tale cottage fit for a memorable evening

ELDR can be categorized as a love at first sight kind of place. It truly has a Snow White and the 7 Dwarves feel. The interior is just as charming but in a totally different way. It’s somehow both cozy and modern at the same time. A true work of art!

Their menu features new American cuisine, natural wine, craft coffee and cocktails. If you are there for dinner, start with the focaccia by local bakery Mother AVL with strawberry butter. They also have a few pasta options on the menu, as well as fish, duck and their ELDR burger with 24-day aged beef.

ELDR is tucked away in Grovewood Village near the Omni Grove Park Inn. They offer brunch (weekends), lunch and dinner. As is typical in Asheville, ELDR is closed Monday and Tuesday.

A great restaurant in West Asheville for an intimate date night

You’ll find a beautiful restaurant hidden inside the unassuming Jargon in West Asheville. They also have a great outdoor courtyard with a few tables and bistro lights overhead. And the food is standout, too!

Jargon’s menu is seasonal and ever-changing, but you can always count on excellent food and presentation, from delicious steaks to various salads and small plates.

As far as cocktails go, we especially love their Eat a Peach with thyme-infused Tito’s and the Ice Breaker that comes inside a smoked ice ball.

If you make reservations at Jargon early enough, you can opt to sit at the Chef’s Counter. It makes for a very fun date night restaurant in Asheville.

Colorful, flavorful and delicious meals at a plant-based restaurant

Plant in North Asheville is known for their 100% plant-based menu and dedication to local and organic products. Over 90% of their ingredients are organic!

Plant’s meals are a feast for the eyes and the palate. Colorful, flavorful, and unique, they’re truly mind-blowing. We don’t say that lightly.

We recommend Plant to anyone who enjoys delicious food, whether you follow a vegan diet or not. Make sure to try the ravioli if it’s on the menu!

Asheville’s best vegan eats

Perfect steak dinner in the River Arts District

Vivian in River Arts District is the perfect place for a fancy night out or a delicious Sunday brunch.

As far as food goes, their steak dinner is an absolute show-stealer. It’s a 14oz ribeye loin with mashed potatoes and their famous steak sauce. That plus a few on their starters makes for an excellent dinner for two!

If you are there for brunch, try the smoked lamb benedict for something new or the daily quiche with side salad for a classic but delicious meal.

The ultimate chicken sandwich (in a gas station restaurant!)

Yep, you heard it right. Sand Hill Kitchen is 1) amazing and 2) located in a gas station.

Not only does Sand Hill have a great lunch (the chicken sandwich with house-made pickles! the burger! the beet sandwich!), but they also offer a delicious breakfast. It’s truly a top recommendation from us.

There are a few tables inside, but we always take it with us. We recommend ordering online and picking up through the drive in window for ultimate convenience.

Small space with big flavors and overwhelming national attention

The queer-owned, 17-seat Filipinx restaurant Neng Jr.’s is pretty much THE restaurant at the moment in Asheville. Most recently they were recognized as a top restaurant by both the NY Times and Bon Appetit.

Though the menu changes frequently, it’s full of Filipinx flavors with a southern flare. It changes so often that they don’t even bother posting it anywhere. That’s part of the excitement.

It’s not impossible to get a reservation but you definitely need to plan ahead. They release new reservations 30 days in advance, so if you plan ahead you should be able to snag a table. Try booking for just one person if you really want to dine there and 30 days is too far out!

Daily brunch at a casual eatery in West Asheville

Sunny Point is an absolutely wonderful brunch spot in West Asheville. Their dishes are fresh, flavorful and creative and the atmosphere is easy and casual.

Their bacon, carrot hotcakes with cardamom cream cheese and huevos rancheros are noteworthy, though you really can’t go wrong with anything at Sunny Point.

It’s a crowd-favorite place, so you can typically expect a wait. But you can bide your time with a coffee and pastry from Rabbit Hole, their sister bakery on the same property.

Nine Mile

Laidback restaurant for Caribbean-inspired food

Nine Mile is an Asheville gem! Their food has an upscale feel but the atmosphere is more local neighborhood. They have three locations around town, but the Montford one is our top pick.

It’s a great spot for a date night, whether it’s your first or hundredth. Their Live and Give appetizer (chips with queso, salsa and hummus) is always a good place to start, especially if dining with a group.

If you enjoy fish, try their Mayfield Falls mahi mahi. It comes with a creamy yet somehow dairy-free sauce. It’s packed with flavor and a top bite in Asheville.

Upscale Mexican eatery with lobster nachos and churros

Downtown Asheville’s Limones is a modern Californian and Mexican restaurant. Their food is excellent, the menu is inventive, the location is great and the drinks + dessert are downright fantastic.

We recommend splitting a few plates like the lobster nachosstreet corn, the three cheese relleno and the short ribs barbacoa gordita. They have larger dishes as well but we can’t get enough of the appetizers!

For an absolutely remarkable evening, order the churros and sipping hot chocolate for dessert.

Make reservations in advance to secure a table or you can try to grab a seat at the bar.

Locally-loved cafe with all-star sourdough pancake

Liberty House is a local favorite cafe in Asheville, especially when the weather is nice because they have awesome outdoor seating. They offer a daily breakfast and lunch, as well as a weekend brunch.

The star of the show is the sourdough pancake with blueberries. Their classic breakfast plate with sourdough toast is also delicious, as is their Cobb Salad with tarragon ranch and their BLT. Ok, everything.

If you aren’t looking for a full meal, enjoy a relaxing moment over a coffee and pastry in their garden area.

Asian fusion eatery in West Asheville that’s big on flavor

Gan Shan West is a delicious Asian fusion restaurant in West Asheville. It’s one of our most recommended restaurants, especially for takeout in Asheville.

Our recommendation for dining at Gan Shan West is to plan to eat family-style. Order a few different appetizers and entrees and split them with a group. We love their pork & chive dumplings, wings, gai lon, General Tso’s Chicken and Japanese fries.

Whatever you do, though, make sure to get the GSW Rice Bowl. Our go-to is to add Koran pulled pork. It’s a spicy, sweet and flavorful meal. The best in Asheville!

A must-visit if you love pie and the smell of butter

Yes, the dessert shop Baked Pie Company is so good that it gets its very on spot on the best restaurants of Asheville list. We stand by that.

Baked Pie Company is the only dedicated pie shop in Asheville and boy is it a good one. They have a wide variety of pies, with everything from their best-selling honey pecan pie to the most indulgent cream pies.

The best way to experience Baked is through their amazing pie flight. Choose three pieces of pie from their bakery case and pair them with a scoop of ice cream. It’s a fun way to test out new flavors. You can also buy pie by the slice or a whole pie.

Breakfast sandwiches at a takeout cafe (inside a West AVL coffee shop!)

If you’re after a great breakfast sandwich in Asheville, we highly recommend Tiger Bay Cafe. It’s a takeout spot, though you can dine at BattleCat Coffee Bar located in the same space.

Tiger Bay is a female, black-owned restaurant that offers both breakfast and lunch. The breakfast bagel (add bacon!) is a great place to start. Another delicious option is their breakfast panini with herb mayonnaise. Both are big on flavor and always hot and fresh.

You can order Tiger Bay online. They’ll give you an estimate time and text you when it’s ready.

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